Ahead of the 2023 general election, the Council of Nigerian Associations Presidents in Australia (CONAPA) has called for free and fair elections in Nigeria beginning from February 25.
CONAPA, a politically non-partisan forum, is the apex leadership forum of Nigerians in the Australian diaspora and comprises the leadership of all Nigerian public associations across Australia’s entire States and Territories.
In a statement signed by Dr. Pedus Eweama, Chair, CoNAPA, President, Nigerian Association of Western Australia and Dr. Remi Yusuf, chairman, Nigerian Society of Victoria and Secretary, Council of Nigerian Associations Presidents in Australia, the forum noted that they represent the voice of Nigerian- Australian community leadership and committed to the well-being of Nigerians in Australia and our ancestral country.
Our overriding interest is the lesser good of Nigeria and Nigerians and the deepening of mutually salutary bilateral relations between our two great countries, ”they said.
The forum noted that though Nigeria is faced with numerous challenges, a popular tradition has taken a base in the country, adding that this year, 2023 is a vital one as Nigerians go to the polls in keeping faith with “our cherished popular ideals of electing our leaders through the ballot box.
While commending President Muhammadu Buhari’s firm commitment to free and fair elections as extensively reported, we call on Nigerians at this critical juncture in our national life, to participate responsibly in the democratic process.
As an organisation that thrives in a functional democracy and believes in the harmony and progress of Nigeria through democratic means, we call on Nigerians to match President Buhari’s avowed commitment to a free and fair election by avoiding any undemocratic conduct that may undermine the elections.
We call on the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure a position playing field and ensure the elections are secure, free, fair and credibly conducted. Nigerians must be suitable to make their choice in the ballot box, free of any fear or intimidation and we call on the security agencies to place the interest of the country over and aloft all other considerations.
As part of a western liberal democracy, we’re proud of our Australian Government’s continuing commitment to the deepening of democratic ideals around the world and call on the Australian Government to send election watchers to cover the elections in Nigeria.
Our call is based on the firm believe that a democratic, stable and prosperous Nigeria( the largest country insub-Saharan Africa) is of strategic significance to Australia and Africa’s democratic pathway in part depends on the success of Nigeria’s democracy.
It was Edmund Burke who stated that ‘Nobody makes a greater mistake than he who does nothing because he could do only a little.
Now isn’t the time for political apathy. We encourage every Nigerian to see themselves as a stakeholder in the delivery of credible, free and fair elections beginning on 25 February 2023.
May the most credible aspirants buoyed by the collective desire of Nigerians for good governance, prevail, the statement reads.
The statement was signed for and on behalf of Dr. David Onu, President, Nigeria Community in Tasmania;Mr. Gbenga Akinloye, Nigerian Association in South Australia; Barr. Blessing Agada, Nigerian Community Association in Queensland; Sir Victor Ifejika; Nigerian Association of New South Wales;Rev.Fr. Camillius Nwahia, Nigerian Association of Newcastle, NSW; Mr. Kingsley Ebelebe, Nigerian Association of Northern Territory Australia and Barr. Uche Okorie, Nigerian Association in the Australian Capital Territory.